A little kindness goes a long way. Just ask the Sydney, Australia, neighbors of Betty Harris, who were surprised to learn they had inherited her $12.5 million estate upon her death in 2009.
The neighbors, Beatrice Gray and her husband, Robert, brought Harris bread and milk, helped her with her chores and paid her bills.
The widowed Harris had no children and was estranged from her nieces and nephews. One niece, the prior beneficiary of the estate before Harris revised her will, waged a nasty, two-year legal battle but lost. According to Australia's News.com, the niece wanted to put Harris in a nursing home against her wishes. Harris also told people she hadn't spoken to her nieces or nephews for 13 years and she swore they would get none of her wealth.
Although a doctor determined Harris, age 95 when she died, was suffering from mild dementia in 2005 when she revised her will, the court did not believe she was unaware of her actions.
News.com reported that Harris had explained her bequest by saying: "The Grays would be surprised, (while) my family are waiting for me to die." She added that "I am determined that my relatives after what they have put me through will not get one cent."
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